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Verf. 8. “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten Thee." Here is a fuller and more absolute declaration of Christ's peculiar sonship, than was given in the original prophecy, by Nathan, 2 Sam. 7, 14, as well remarked by the Midrash Tallin, before. And accordingly, the profound apostle to the Hebrews, 1, 5, citing both texts, places this foremost, as the strongest and most unequivocal, explanatory of the latter :"I will be to Him A Father, and He shall be to me A Son." And as his argument requires the exclusive application of both texts to the Son of God, whom He appointed HeiR OF ALL," verf. 1, 2. It cannot possibly relate to David, according to Kimchi's misrepresentation ; himself unwittingly overturns his own Hypothefis, by adducing as a parallel instance of fonship, “ He shall be to me A Son,” which, even by the confession of the Jews, is utterly inapplicable to David himself, clearly relating to one of his descendants. '
And that this luminous text, was so understood by David himself, may be collected from his sublime thanksgiving, (more correctly translated) on the communication of the original prophecy of the descent of The Mes SIAH, from his loins, according to the flesh, by Nathan: 2 Sam. 7, 17 -29.-" According to all these words, and according to all this vision, lo spake Nathan unto David.
« Then David the king went, and fate before THE LORD: And he said, who am I, O REGENT LORD, and what is my house, that thou hast brought me to this selevation]: and even this, was yet little in thine eyes, O REGENT LORD, since thou hast spoken also concerning thy seryant's house, to a remote [period]: Surely this is the law of the Adam, O REGent LORD. And what can David proceed to say unto thee further? For thou knowest thy servant, [i. e. the fullness of his heart] O Regent LORD. For the sake of thy oracle, and according to thine own heart, haft thou made thy servant to know all this great [mystery].
“And now, LORD OF Gods, establish for ever the oracle which thou haft spoken, touching thy servant, and touching his house; and do according as thou haft spoken, and let thy name be magnified for ever ; saying, The LORD OF Hosts is God over ISRAEL; and let the house of thy servant David be established before Thee: For Thou LORD OF Hosts, THE GOD OF ISRAEL, haft opened the ear of revealed to] thy servant, saying, I will build thee a house: Therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto thee. And now, REGENT LORD, Thou art The GOD, and thy words are truth, and thou hast spoken to thy servant, this good [promise]: Now, therefore, let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may abide for ever before Thee; for thou REGENT LORD haft spoken : and with thy blessing let the house of thy Servant be blessed for ever.'
According to the sagacious explanation of Peters on Job, Preface, p. Ixix. that mysterious expression, D787 0718 “ and this [is] the law of the Adam," intimates “ this surely, can be no other than " the law," or fixed decree, concerning the second Adam, or blessed Redeemer, so long promised to us: that“ seed of the woman” who is “ to crush the serpent's heud :” that “ seed of Abraham,” in whom all the nations of the earth are to be blessed :" that “ seed of Isaac, Jacob, Judah” the “Shiloh” spoken of, to whom “ the gathering of peoples is to be," and now declared to be the son of David, “ whose kingdom mall be established for ever. Vol. III. Churchm. Mag. Aug. 1802.
And And this is supported, by the parallel passage. i Chron. 17, 17.o enn 1787 7153 0877 " And Thou hast regarded me, according to the law of the Adam from above”—And accordingly, our blessed LORD explains,--" No one hath afcended into heaven, ercept He that descended from heaven, THE SON OF Man, who was in heaven.” John 3, 13. “ Ye are from below, I am from above” John 8,23. And the Baptist: “ He that cometh from above, is above all” John 3,31. And Paul: " the first Adam was a type of the future” Rom. 5, 14. being both immediately, Sons of God: But, “ the first man Adam was born a living foul ; the last Adam, a quickening spirit:--The first man, is of the earth, earthy; the second man, is The Lord from heaven.” 1 Cor. 15, 45-47. Nothing indeed, can more strongly express the infinite superiority of Christ's nature above that of Adam and all his race: Who often stiles himself “ THE SON OF MAN;' not out of humility, (as sometimes mistakenly supposed) but to mark himself as the vicEGERENT of THE DEITY, destined to appear in human form; according to Daniel's magnificent description, 7, 13 - 14. explanatory of Pr. 8, 4. And accordingly, our Saviour assumes the title, where he authoritatively afferts his divine dignity: to his disciples, Matt. 16, 13. and to the Jewish high priest, Matt. 26, 64. and as judge of all, John 5, 22 -27.
How well the title of the Son of God was understood by the Jews appears, 1. From Agur's enquiry, Prov. 30, 4. " What is His name, and what is his Son's name? 2. From the signal confessions of faith; John 1,50. ~ Rabbi, Thou art THE CHRIST, THE KING OF ISRAEL.” Matt. 16, 16. John 6, 69. “ Thou art THE CHRIST, The Son of the Living God." 3. From the solemn charge of the high priest, on his iniquitous, trial. urging him, when the false witnesses failed * to criminate himself, Matt. 26, 63. I adjure thee by THE LIVING God, to tell us whether thou be the CHRIST, THE Son of God.” 4. From the ground of their requisition for his condemnation to Pilate, John 19, 7. “ We have a lari, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God;" and 5. from the Roman centurion's confession seeing the awful signs that accompanied his crucifixion, Matt. 27, 54. “ Truly this was the Son of GOD” where we may incidentally remark, that the phrase is indiscriminately used in these places, with and without the article: o vio T8 ©£8-vio to @£8,-and vio €8, or £8 vio.-and throughout the New Testament.
The day of our Lord's new birth, or investiture in the highest privileges of divine Sonship, as before observed, was the day of his resurrection. It was then, that, “ God made Him HEIR OF ALL—after he had, through (the sacrifice of] himself, made purification of our sins.” Heb. 1, 3. It was then, “when He again introduced the First Born into the world, He said, and let all the angels of God worship him.” Heb, 1, 5. Whence John expressly ftiles him, “The First Born from the dead,” Rev. 1, 5. explaining Ethan's epithet: Pf. 89, 27. “ I will make him my FIRST Born, higher than the kings of the earth.”
* See a most curious confession of the Jews, touching these false witnesses, in Sharp's Defence of Chrisianity. Part I. p. 42.
(To be concluded in our next.)
BISHOP HORNE's LETTERS ON INFIDELITY.
LETTER VI. WE are next to enquire, whether suicide be any breach of our duty W towards our neighbour.
P. 17. “How does it appear that the Almighty is displeased with those actions which disturb fociety? By the principles which he has implanted in human nature ; and which inspire us with a sentiment of remorse if we ourselves have been guilty of such actions, and with that of blame and disapprobation, if we ever observe them in others. Let us now examine whether suicide be of this kind of actions."
Before we enter upon the examination here proposed, it is obvious to remark, that there is no instinct, or “ principle implanted” in human nature, which seems to be more universal and more forcible than that of an aversion to suicide. For a man to destroy himself is directly againft the voice and the very prime inclination of nature. Every thing desires to preserve itself. “No man hateth his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherilheth it.” And therefore, nations in general, as taught by the immediate voice of nature, by the very first accents which she utters to all, have abhorred men's laying violent hands upon themselves : and to thew their abhorrence, have decreed to pursue self-murderers, after their death, with the highest marks of ignominy. * The argument from implanted principle, therefore, militates very powerfully againit suicide.
But however, the truth is, that in this, as in many other cases, these implanted principles, by due labour and pains, may be over-ruled and suppressed. On which account, it becomes neceisary for us to have some other criterion of moral rectitude evident to all, and to be eluded by none; left obduracy should be deemed a proof of innocence, and because a man feels no remorse, he should apprehend no guilt.
For us Christians this matter is settled by a law, which we esteem to be wise, and just, and good, and most friendly to the interests of society. By the leave of the new philosophers, we will take it with us; and I am apt to think, it will appear to great advantage, on this part of our subject. Holding this light in our hands, then, let us enter the dark labyrinth of Mr. He's sophistry, and it will bring us safely out again.
P. 18. “ A man who retires from life, does no harm to society."
There are two ways of imposing upon mankind through the abuse of words; when a good thing is disgraced by a bad name, or a bad thing dignified with a good one. Mr. H. in this Eisay affords us a striking instance of the latter mode of deception. The self-murderer is sometimes said by him to “ dispose of life,” as a pedlar would sell two pennyworth of inkle; at others, to “ retire from life,” as a gentleman, when he has a mind to leave company, makes his bow, steps gracefully out of the room, and shuts the door.--It may be urged, perhaps, that as we understand Mr. H 'S meaning, it is needless to dispute any further about his language.-- Be it fo. Proceed we then to consider the sentiment.
“ A man who retires from life does no harm to society.”
Aristotle thought otherwise, and, as it thould seem, better, upon this point. It was his opinion, that they who destroy themselves (without the command of God or the public) are injurious to the commonwealth ;
* S:e Bp. Taylor's Duet. Dubitant. B. 111, Ch. 11. Rule 111.
frorn whose service they withdraw themselves if they be innocent, and whose justice they evade, if they be guilty.*
But surely the suicide “ does harm to society,” by setting a detestable example, which, if generally followed in times of calamity and distress, would desolate a country, instead of defending it. Suicide originates in despair, of all evils, political or moral, the greatest, as cutting off every resource of help and deliverance. Wisely, therefore, as well as bravely, did the Romans return public thanks to their general, who had been vanquished in a dreadful battle by the enemy, because he had nevertheless NOT DESPAIRED of the commonwealth. In the instance before us, example is particularly contagious. Once, as history relates, it became a fashion among the young women of a certain city of Greece to make away with theinselves ; nor could the magistrates put an end to the horrid practice, till having ordered the dead bodies of the culprits to be dragged naked through the streets, they overcame this most unnatural love of death by the dread of shame. In our own country, and, it is said, of late, upon the continent, partly by the examples of profligates, and partly by the writings of philosophers, the same fashion is more and more diffusing itself among all ranks of people, and the state is continually losing numbers, who might otherwise have lived long to serve it, and then have died in the faith and fear of God. It is not true, therefore, that the suicide “ does no harm to society.” He does irremediable harm, and may continue to do so, to the years of many generations.
P. 18. “ He only ceases to do good; which, if it is an injury, is of the lowest kind.”
To cease to do good is not so criminal as to do harm; but it is criminal, notwithstanding. We were sent into the world to do good; and we 1hould do it to the end. The portion of the “ unprofitable servant” is not to be envied.
P. 18. “But when I withdraw myself altogether from society, can I be bound any longer ?”
It is not poslible to “ withdraw yourself altogether from society.” There always will be some about you, whom you may improve by your conversation and example, and who may improve others by the relation of them.
P. 18. “ I am not obliged to do a small good to fociety, at the expence of a great harm to myself.”.
Be not afraid, where no fear is. The “ harm" is not “ great” of bearing your afflictions as God requires you to bear them, who lends the trial, and will send the strength; and in a stage of our existence where so large a part of our duty lies in suffering, the “ good” is not “ small,” of Thewing your companions in tribulation (and luch more or less are all mankind) what it is to suffer and die like a Chriftian, in picty and patience, cheerfulness and relignation.
P. 19. - If upon account of age and infirmities, I may lawfully resign any office, and employ my time altogether in fencing against these calamities, and alleviating, as much as poflible, the miseries of my future life : why may I not cut short these miseries at once by an action which is no more prejudicial to fociety?
* See Bp. Taylor, ubi fupra.
Suicide is in reality far “ more prejudicial to fociety," as we have already shewn, because it exhibits a bad example of impatience and despair, which may be copied by any man, who, in the hour of gloom and melancholy (he being always the judge of his own cale) Thall fancy himself in circumstances which will justify the action. How many have Itill contrived to the last in various ways to do service to their families and to the public, during the intervals of pain and sickness? And when they could no longer teach their friends how to live and act, have taught them (as before mentioned, but it cannot be mentioned 100 often) that other equally necessary and important lesson—to suffer, and to die?
Mr. H, is resolved to die hard.
P. 19. “ But suppose it is no longer in my power to promote the ina terest of society”
I repeat it once more, that while you have breath, it will be in your power to do so.
" Suppose that I am a burden to it" If the society be Christian, it will readily, charitably, and kindly support the burden.
-“ Suppose that my life hinders some person from being much more useful to society.”
As it is your duty to bear your afflictions, it is that of others to assist, and minister to you in your necessities ; and they cannot be “ more useful to society,” than while so employed.
- In such cases, my resignation of life must not only be innocent, but laudable.”
Neither “ laudable,” nor “ innocent,” believe me, if by “ resignation of life” you mean suicide, for the reasons many and good, above afligned.
P. 19. “ Most people who lie under any temptation to abandon exiftence, are in some such situation : those who have health, or power, or authority, have commonly better reason to be in humour with the world.”
Yet this is by no means always so. There are seasons when the world, with all its pleasures, and all its glories, will fail him who has nothing else to depend upon. Accordingly, we have had instances, where, for want of the religious principle, “ health, power, and authority," have proved insufficient to keep their pofsefsors “ in humour ;” and through the prevalence of pride, avarice, intemperance, caprice, and spleen, men have dispatched themselves, fome, because they had taken a wrong ficp, and were blamed for it; fome, because they had eaten too much, and therefore life was insupportable ; fome, to defraud their creditors; fome, because they were tired of buckling and unbuckling their shoes; and fome, to save charges. Poor unhappy MAN! How art thou toiled upon the ocean of life, when once driven from the helm, which should direct thy course through time to eternity !
P. 20. “Mr. H. states the following case
“ A man is engaged in a conspiracy for the public interest ; is seized upon suspicion ; is threatened with the rack; and knows from his own weakness that the secret will be extorted from him : could fuch an one consult the public interest better than by putting a quick period to a miserable life?" 1. To avoid so untoward a situation, before a man “engages in a con